It will take something bordering on miraculous for Leicester Tigers to make the European Champions Cup quarter-finals but Freddie Burns insists – where there is a will, there is a way.
The Tigers head to the Kingspan Stadium this weekend to take on an Ulster side that have been ravaged by injury and are already out of contention for the knockout stages.
Only a bonus-point win will be enough for Richard Cockerill’s side to have a hope of making it through as a best runner-up, and even then other results would have to go their way.
But that does not daunt Burns, who insists he and his teammates are ready to throw the kitchen sink at Ulster and then keep their fingers crossed for other results.
“We know that it is a bit of a long shot for us to get through,” said the fly-half, who started last time out as the Tigers claimed a bonus-point win at Welford Road against Scarlets to keep their faint hopes alive.
“The performance, apart from a few defensive mistakes, was very good against the Scarlets and now we have to go to Ulster and try and do the same.
“Leicester have had quite a few games against them in recent seasons so the lads know what to expect.
“And it’s a great opportunity to go out there and throw the kitchen sink at them, to try and get the win and those five points that might make all the difference, who knows what could happen?”
The harsh reality is that a five-point win would take the Tigers to a total of 18 points from their six pool clashes with the best runners-up likely to need at least 19 to get through.
And if that is the case then the Tigers will look back to their defeat against the Scarlets in round two as the crucial moment when their qualification hopes are lost.
“There is a bit of frustration because we just did not perform in that Scarlets game,” he added.
“We let the result slip away, a side like Leicester we want to be getting out of our pool and making the knockout stages.”
Burns himself has had to spend the best part of the last three months playing second fiddle to Owen Williams in the No.10 shirt at Welford Road.
But after returning to the starting lineup against Scarlets, the former Gloucester Rugby man is keen to lay down a marker when they head to Kingspan Stadium.
“Of course it has been a bit frustrating but Owen is a great player,” he added.
“I was pleased with how I went against the Scarlets, I had not played a great deal recently so it was nice to get out there and contribute to a good team performance, now I just have to make sure that I keep pushing on.”
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